Opposition BNP has intensified engagement with diplomats ahead of the next parliamentary elections in a bid to convince foreign powers and draw their support in favour of their demands, including holding of the next general election under an election-time non-party neutral administration.
“We’re holding routine meetings with foreign diplomats. We discuss everything with the diplomats of different countries as they want to know about our political, social and economic situation,” BNP standing committee member Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury told the Daily Sun.
The embattled opposition party has taken to street with different programmes like protest rallies and processions while it has also been making efforts to go for all-out movement simultaneously along with other opposition parties to realise their demands.
A meeting of the party’s standing committee held on Monday night with Tarique Rahman in the chair also decided to place the allegations of attacks on their party men allegedly by ruling party men and inaction of law enforcers during their ‘peaceful’ programmes before diplomats, the meeting sources said.
Some central leaders of the BNP, including its foreign relations committee, have been maintaining regular contact and holding series of meetings with the ambassadors, high commissioners and other representatives of different countries and international organisations regularly for last few months.
The party has also planned for a visit of its leaders to India to seek their support for their demands and movement, the party insiders said.
Lastly, on September 18, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ito Naoki, met BNP leaders, led by its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Asked about the meetings, BNP leader Shama Obayed, also a member of the party’s international relations committee, told the Daily Sun that these is their routine work as they are regularly maintain diplomatic relationship with foreign countries for the interest of Bangladesh.
“Whenever we hold meeting with representatives of any countries, many things, including our country’s social, political and democratic situation, are discussed,” she said.
BNP sources said the party is now trying to convince foreign powers, including influential countries and international organisations like the United Nations (UN), Commonwealth and European Union (EU).
It has intensified its diplomatic activities in home and abroad while they are holding several meetings with foreign diplomats.
The issues related to the next national election and human rights of the country are being discussed in their meeting, the sources added.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley met BNP leaders, including Mirza Fakhrul, at the party’s Gulshan office on July 13.
“In our meetings with them (foreign diplomats), we are discussing the issue as holding of the next national polls under a neutral government is a demand of the people,” BNP’s another standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan told the Daily Sun.
Asked as to whether BNP is working to gain support from foreign countries for their demand for holding of parliament election under a neutral government, he said those who believe in democracy will support their demand.
BNP sources said it has planned to hold more meetings with the foreign diplomats in home and abroad and will increase their communication with them to achieve their target.
A BNP leader wishing not to be named told the Daily Sun that the party leaders during the meetings with foreign diplomats provide written briefing about the country’s latest political situation and the condition of human rights and democracy in Bangladesh.
The written briefing also highlight imprisonment of opposition leaders and activists, including Khaleda Zia, cases against party men, including its acting chairman Tarique Rahman and others.
BNP has planned to send formal letters to the UN, Commonwealth and the EU seeking support for a free, fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh and the party also will urge the organisations to play their due role in resolving the ongoing political crisis prevailing in the country, the BNP leader added.
The party is working to convince the UN to put pressure on the government so that it sits in a constructive dialogue with major political parties of the country to overcome the ongoing ‘political stalemate’ over the next polls, insiders said.
Several teams comprising of BNP central leaders, pro-BNP former diplomats and former bureaucrats, are working to develop relationship with different countries, including the US, the UK, China, and India and international bodies such as the UN and the EU.
Several teams of the party are also working abroad, particularly in the UK and the USA to convince the foreign powers to put pressure on the incumbent Awami League government, the sources added.